Click on me to see flag at the top of Cowpen Mountain
Cowpen Mountain
Cowpen Mountain Hikes
●●● Select a hike to see what I experienced on that day ●●●
Hike 1
December 27, 2004 (Me and Debbie)
Hike 6
Hike 2
June 17, 2006  (Me and Lizz)
Hike 7
Hike 3
November 24, 2006 (Me and son-in-law John)
Hike 8
Hike 4
April 25, 2010 (Me, Garrett, and Justice)
Hike 9
Hike 5
Hike 10
<< Mike's Picture Library                                                             Hike 1 >>
Picture/Images Rules:  All images are Copyright (C) 2004-2016 by Michael T. Bailey Sr., Marietta, Georgia.  All rights reserved. Reproduction,
adaptation, or translation without prior written permission is prohibited, except as allowed under copyright laws.  
Contact Information:
Cowpen Mountain, at 4,151 feet in elevation, is the
highest mountain in the Cohutta Wilderness area in
North Georgia. Even though the summit rises up
literally alongside one of the busiest trails in the
Cohutta Wilderness, the East Cowpen Trail, it
is rarely visited. This is because the old trail
to the top (shown clearly on Topo maps) is
long gone and you have to "bushwhack"
your way through brush and tall briers
to reach the summit. There are no
views from here, just a wide
semi-clearing in the woods
that is covered in tall
weeds and sharp briers.

The original geodetic
Benchmark marker is
gone and only 1 of 3
(No. 2) witness
markers remain.
This hike is not
long -- only 3.2
miles round trip.

If you leave the
summit and head
straight down the
eastern slope and
pick up the trail down
below, you can save 6/10s
of a mile on your hike. That
decent is very steep (maybe 45-
55 degrees in places) but it is fun.

Another way is to leave the summit
and head southeast on a gentler slope
and bushwhacking all the way down for
about 3/10s of a mile and rejoining the
East Cowpen Trail about where the
Rough Ridge Trail branches off to the
northeast.  Lots of briers, but fun :-)
I started hiking up to the summit of Cowpen Mountain the Saturday after 9/11. By Friday night (the 14th) I was
exhausted from all the TV coverage of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Buildings, the Pentagon,
etc, and felt like I needed to get out of the house and relax. So, I headed for Big Frog Mountain -- the highest
peak in the northern part of the Cohutta Wilderness that is actually in Tennessee
(and called Big Frog Wilderness Area).

I had by luck, 4 or 5 American flags -- the ones on 24" sticks with the flags being 11 by 18 inches in size -- in the
truck with me and I took one with me and stuck it into my backpack so that it was "flying" the whole way up the
mountain with me. As I walked along, I could hear it flapping in the breeze and every now and then, I could see it
out of the corner of my eye. For whatever reason, those sensations gave me comfort as I hiked and
contemplated all the events of the past several traumatic days as America was reeling with
anger and sadness of what happened on 9/11.

As I was getting ready to head down, I decided to leave the flag there so I made a makeshift pole, attached the
flag to it, saluted it and headed down. I told myself if anyone tries to sneak into America by parachuting into a
desolate place, they would know right off the bat that we were everywhere -- and ready!

After getting back to my truck, I headed back down into Georgia via Forest Service roads and headed for Three
Forks Mountain in the Cohutta Wilderness. I parked in the parking lot there and hiked up to Cowpen Mountain,
placed another flag on a tall pole and then after coming back down, I went the opposite way and hiked up Three
Forks Mountain and placed a flag on the summit there.

Then I headed for Grassy Mountain over by Lake Conasauga on the far western side of the Cohutta Wilderness
area. I parked my truck at the end of the road and hiked up the old road that leads to the huge Grassy Mountain
Fire Lookout Tower and once there, I attached another flag to the tower (with a Ranger's permission who
happened to be there on fire watch duty).

Anyway, ever since then, I go back to Cowpen Mountain and replace the flag there. I guess because it was so
hard to reach -- the summit area because of all the tall brier thickets and brush, etc. -- that it has drawn me,
challenged me I guess, to keep coming back to check on the flag.

Not a problem -- I've got lots of flags ... :-)